B2B E-Commerce

Businesses purchase products and services online more than ever before. In business-to-business e-commerce, only a small one-digit percentage of online sales are made via marketplaces. Especially in the retail and wholesale sectors, where large companies operate, buyers generate purchase orders through other channels of digital procurement, such as EDI software (electronic digital interchange). However, e-commerce marketplaces are slowly gaining ground due to being able to provide more customized and flexible supply for businesses, adjusting to their demand and offering an interactive customer experience.

In terms of gross merchandise volume, B2B e-commerce sales in Asia rank first in the world, followed by North America. Between 2012 and 2019, the value of B2B e-commerce transactions in China alone underwent a fourfold increase.

Estimated B2B e-commerce marketplaces GMV worldwide
31.19bn USD
Leading generalist B2B marketplace based on estimated online traffic
Alibaba
Leading region by value of B2B e-commerce GMV
Asia

Industry insights

In-depth: B2B e-Commerce 2019

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Market size

What is the growth region for B2B e-commerce?
Estimated global B2B e-commerce gross merchandise volume (GMV) on marketplaces in 2019 and 2020 (in billion U.S. dollars)
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Asia makes up roughly 80 percent of the global B2B e-commerce market. The Chinese market was valued at 25 trillion yuan, steadily increasing since 2012. The sustained growth also involves B2B retail platforms of small and medium-sized enterprises, whose revenues are on the rise. In the United States, both wholesale and manufacturing sectors are experiencing a moderate yet steady growth of B2B e-commerce transactions.

Shares of global B2B e-commerce gross merchandise volume, by region
Transaction volume of B2B e-commerce in China
B2B e-commerce sales in Germany

Market segments

Wholesale & manufacturing
Total and e-commerce value of U.S. merchant wholesale trade sales including MSBOs* from 2002 to 2019 (in million U.S. dollars)
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All purchases made by businesses through e-commerce channels can be grouped under the wholesale and manufacturing segments. In the United States, wholesale trade e-commerce reported increasing figures, especially for non-durable goods. The value of grocery products in wholesale trade rose to over 350 billion U.S. dollars. Furthermore, it is estimated that nearly 70 percent of all shipments in the manufacturing sector are performed through e-commerce channels.

U.S. e-commerce value of nondurable goods wholesale
U.S. e-commerce value of durable goods wholesale
E-commerce as percentage of total U.S. manufacturing shipments

Industry trends

How is B2B e-commerce evolving?
Share of B2B companies selling through e-commerce channels before and during the pandemic in 2020, by country
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In most countries, the restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic caused businesses to sell their products or services online more than before. In the B2B sector, the purchasing experience on e-commerce platforms is being tailored more to the businesses’ needs, while vendors are beginning to apply strategies and provide additional services which are more typical of B2C e-commerce: more efficient customer service, customization, and integration with other online environments.

Expected revenue derived from own e-commerce sites
Preferred methods of self-serve according to global B2B vendors
Digital interactions used by businesses worldwide when researching or considering suppliers

Industry leaders

Commerce suites and marketplaces
Score of gross merchandise value (GMV) of B2B e-commerce suites provided by leading SaaS vendors in 2nd quarter of 2020
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Large or medium-sized B2B companies tend to sell their products through commerce suites of SaaS companies like Adobe, SAP, or Salesforce. These vendors offer a set of pre-build services and software customized for business verticals. Furthermore, B2B e-commerce is seeing a surge in online marketplaces in several sectors, with Alibaba leading the ranking of generalist B2B marketplaces.

Leading B2B marketplaces based on estimated online traffic
Leading B2B marketplaces in the food industry based on estimated online traffic
Leading B2B marketplaces in the automotive industry based on estimated online traffic

Industry definition

B2B e-commerce describes the electronic commerce between businesses at the level of manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers as opposed to the general public or governments. Statista provides general figures about the market and covers the leading platforms and marketplaces, differentiating by industries and sectors. Further insights analyze the attitude and behavior of B2B buyers.

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